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Island Innovation Fund

Written by Burt on 8 October 2010 One Comment

In 2009 the Hawaii Community Foundation (HCF) announced a fund called the Omidyar Innovation Fund that would be made available in 2010. The Fund’s focus was to help non-profits get seed funding to kick start innovative projects. According to the HCF website,

The Omidyar Innovation Fund will be a new competitive grant making program that will launch in 2010. It is aimed at spurring innovation in Hawai`i’s social sector. Pam and Pierre Omidyar have committed $6 million over six years for this program which will provide matching funds for qualifying organizations.

The new name for the fund is the Island Innovation Fund. The site says it’s under construction but I was told by a reliable source, they wanted the site to be available as soon as possible and have people test it out. The “official” release date was to be October 1st but that has been pushed out to November 1st.

On my preview, the proposal review was a 4 step process. The first step in the process is the Concept, where you submit your idea and any associated material, be it photos, video, documents or presentations. There is an open period for submittals and a deadline to meet.

Next the process enters into the Collaboration phase where proposal material is made public (public as in registered users of the site). The public has about 30 days to comment or ask questions. Applicants are able to respond to comments and make improvements to their Concept.

During the third phase, HCF personnel will review the revised Concept. Projects that best demonstrate the principles and goals of the Island Innovation Fund will be ask to submit a Proposal.

Finally in phase 4 the Omidyar Network and Hawaii Community Foundation staff will review and evaluate Proposals. The most compelling proposals get invited to present a 15 minute presentation to an independent panel of judges for final selection. This judging is open to the public. Winning proposals will be announced one week after the final presentations.

The novel aspect of the Island Innovation Fund is that it plans to be administered all online, at least the proposal process. That in itself is innovative. The obvious benefits are savings on paper, postage and the speed of facilitating the process. I would equate this to taking an online course. All your interactions, feedback, Q&A and results are done online. It appears the site is based on WordPress 3.0.1 and I am curious to see how it handles all the support material for the proposal. Also will evaluations and performance also be done online. What about mentoring and monitoring? That all remains to be seen and most likely under production. Nevertheless, to have a fund available as possible seed capital for your innovative project is a welcome addition to the funding landscape. I am now anxious to see what sorts of projects get proposed and awarded.

One Comment »

  • Innovationhawaii said:

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